Kobayashi Toshimitsu

Kobayashi Toshimitsu 古林年光  (active 1876–1904?)   


The Simple Story

The catalog of the Worcester Art Museum's exhibition In Battle's Light: Woodblock Prints of Japan's Early Modern Wars1 provides the following profile on Kobayashi Toshimitsu:

Kobayashi Toshimitsu (second half of nineteenth century)

Kobayashi Toshimitsu, an early student of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, designed a small series of battle prints in 1875 "with the assistance of Yoshitoshi," Satsuma Rebellion (1877) prints, and genre scenes.  He is listed as deceased on the 1898 Yoshitoshi memorial.

Prints by an artist identified as Toshimitsu can be found in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Waseda University Library collection and the Hagi Uragami museum.

* The "active" dates are taken from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston online database for the artist Kobayashi Toshimitsu.  Of course, if the artist was "listed as deceased on the 1898 Yoshitoshi memorial," he could not still be active in 1904, hence my added "?" after the 1904 date.

The Not So Simple Story

However, as with a number of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi's (1839-1892) students, there is some confusion about the identity of this artist as he used several different artist names () during his career.  In addition, it is possible that several different students of Yoshitoshi’s used the artist name Toshimitsu.  The Japanese Wikipedia entry for 進斎年光 Shinsai Toshimitsu, states that this name was used by a number of Yoshitoshi's disciples and could be any of the following three artists: 小林年参 [Kobayashi Toshikazu], 大月年光 and 福島年光 [Fukushima Toshimitsu].2

Keyes, in his dissertation on Yoshitoshi, provides the following information on two of Yoshitoshi's students with the Toshimitsu:3

Kobayashi Toshimitsu 小林年充, 年参

Gō: Kōsai 高斎

An early pupil who used the name 年充 in 1874 and 年参 on prints in 1875 and 1876; named as an assistant on prints of the mid-1870s; designed a series of small battle pictures in 1875 “with the assistance of Yoshitoshi;” not named on the Kuniyoshi memorial ; named as deceased on the Yoshitoshi memorial (of 1898.)  Possibly the same as the below Toshimitsu.

Kobayashi (or Furubayashi) Toshimitsu 古林年光

PN: Hidenari [actually read Eisei] (栄成)

Kobayashi Eisei 古林栄成 is the name that appears in the publishing seals which provide the "real name" of the artist on prints IHL Cat. #447 and IHL Cat. #448.

Gō: Shinsai 進斎 and Himizugaoka 日不見岡

Also said to have used the name Toshimine; designed pictures of the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877 and of genre subjects around 1880; named as deceased on the Yoshitoshi memorial.


"PN" means "personal names," and includes familiar names (tsushō and zokumyō) and informal names (na)

Gō are secondary art names which usually appear on seals or before an art name in signatures.

1 In Battle's Light: Woodblock Prints of Japan's Early Modern Wars, Elizabeth de Sabato Swinton, Worcester Art Museum, 1991, p. 58.

2 https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%80%B2%E6%96%8E%E5%B9%B4%E5%85%89

3 Courage and Silence: A Study of the Life and Color Woodblock Prints of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: 1839-1892, Roger Keyes, 1982, p. 550, 551, 556.

4 Ibid. p. 540.

Signatures and Seals Attributed to Artist

ōju Shinsai ga


進斎 画


(Waseda University Library Bunko10 8477)

ōju Shinsai ga*


進斎 蛾

Seal: unread


(IHL Cat. #447)

ōju Shinsai




(IHL Cat. #448)

ōju Toshimitsu

應需 年光

Seal: unread


(MFA, Boston 2000.221)

 ōju Toshimitsu ga, 1881

應需 年光 画

(Artelino archive)

Shinsai Toshimitsu

進斎 年光

Seal: Shinsai no in, 1894

(MFA, Boston 2000.368)



Seal: Suidō shujin


(MFA, Boston 2000.23)

Motome ni ōjite Toshimitsu

Seal: Suidô shujin


ōju Toshimitsu

進斎 年光

Seal: Suidō shujin

(Artelino archive)



(IHL Cat. #429)

Toshimitsu ga

年光 画

(IHL Cat. #430)

Prints in Collection


click on thumbnail for print details

Report on the Actual Condition at the Battlefield, 1877

IHL Cat. #447

 The Wealthy Chiefs Inspecting the Decapitated Heads of Enemies, 1877

IHL Cat. #448

Yuchū repairing the manners/world of men

from the series Brocade Pictures for Moral Education, 1883

IHL Cat. #429

The filial son's sincerity can repel even the fiercest beasts 

from the series Brocade Pictures for Moral Education, 1883

IHL Cat. #430